Grandpa Makes Time to Help Babies in Need of Love - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/18/03

Grandpa Makes Time to Help Babies in Need of Love

For years, women have been donating their time in hospital nurseries to hold and rock babies who need that extra secure feeling to help them grow. Now, the Children's Hospital at UMC is witnessing first hand a new trend in that volunteer effort, and it paints a new picture of the power of the human touch.

Imagine the quiet sounds of a serious struggle, babies born too early, trying every day to get through one more day. Science can only do so much. But miracles come from more than machines.

Don Shirley is a volunteer rocker for UMC's Cuddle Club. He says that he feels that his purpose is to love the babies, and that despite the fact that the babies he holds are not his, he really loves them while he is holding them.

In the midst of mamas and grandmas cooing in their cuddle time, now you might hear one man's voice cooing all the same. As a volunteer for two hours every week, Don says that he feels that he also benefits from holding the babies. There are 19 volunteers at UMC who give babies what medicine can't -- love and security.

A report in Newsweek tried to measure the benefit of the human touch and they found their evidence, that physical contact helps preemies gain weight faster and healthy babies digest food better.

Don says he and his wife look forward to volunteering together in the nursery every week, and even though they enjoy five children and five grandchildren of their own, they think it's worth their time to make sure these babies get a loving launch into life.

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